[forthright] An Anchor for the Soul

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 16:24:21 -0200
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: The X-Files

An Anchor for the Soul
by Mitchell Skelton

At the time of his death, this man's work appeared
in 2,600 newspapers worldwide, and was the basis
of a franchise earning $1 billion a year. Since
its modest debut in just seven papers on October
2, 1950, his comic strip became a constant feature
of daily life for nearly fifty years.

Ironically, this man's work should have never been
noticed. He learned his trade through a
correspondence school and earned a C in "the
drawing of children." The tall, skinny outsider at
St. Paul High School was a lousy student whose
only hope was that his gangly cartoons would be
accepted for print in his 1940 senior yearbook.
The annuals went to press without the drawings.
Though discouraged, the fledgling artist was
undaunted in the pursuit of his dream.

Through determination and perseverance, Charles
Schultz fulfilled his childhood goal, and Peanuts
became the most widely syndicated cartoon in the
world./1

While we identify success in one's chosen vocation
with achieving a specific goal, success in the
Christian life is not that easy to distinguish.
The Christian life is not all about our effort.
While we must make an effort, it is not by our
effort that we realize success. However, we can be
assured of a successful Christian life without yet
fully realizing the success. The promise to all
who do "the will of the Father" is the reward of
heaven (Matt. 7:21).

Regarding this promise the Hebrew writer says,

"Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature
of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was
promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did
this so that, by two unchangeable things in which
it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled
to take hold of the hope offered to us may be
greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor
for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner
sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who
went before us, has entered on our behalf" (Heb.
6:17–20).

Our salvation is secure because of two
unchangeable things we can rely upon.

1. God made a promise. "God is not a man, that he
should lie, nor a son of man, that he should
change his mind. Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Num. 23:19).

2. God swore an oath. God made a promise to
Abraham that through him would come a blessing to
all mankind (Gen. 22). God made this promise in
the form of an oath to emphasize its unchanging
character. By swearing an oath, God was showing
man just how much he wanted us to trust him and
the promise he made to us.

Our salvation is secure because Jesus is in
heaven. Jesus being the hope of our salvation is
described as "an anchor for the soul, firm and
secure."

A naval officer from World War II explains the
idea of Jesus as the anchor for the soul as he
described how the battleship he was assigned to
survived a hurricane in Chesapeake Bay. It was a
similar method used by sailors in the 18th and
19th centuries to move their ships through tight
and dangerous spots. When storms or turbulent seas
threatened a ship, a crew of sailors would set out
in a launch carrying with them the larger ship's
anchor. Going as far toward safety as the anchor's
chain would allow they would then cast the anchor
down in the sea. They would then winch the larger
ship forward into deeper water./2

Jesus is an anchor for the soul in this manner.
Not that he is holding us secure in one spot, but
that He is firm and secure and guiding us where we
need to be. Jesus entered heaven before us on our
behalf. In doing this he made access available for
us (Eph. 2:14–18). By entering heaven on our
behalf, Jesus is able to save completely those who
come to God through Him (Heb. 7:24–25).

Life and success can become confusing and
frustrating. The Christian need not be left to
wonder about his eternal destiny. The Christian
need not be frustrated when confronted with the
question, "Do you know if you are going to
heaven?"

We have an Anchor who is firm and secure in
heaven, and he is guiding us to the finish line.
Let him accomplish what he set out to accomplish!

1/Adapted from Houston Chronicle, Dec. 1, 1999,
p. 4D.
2/Adapted from Leonard Sweet, taken from Damian
Phillips @ SermonCentral.com.

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